Work has begun to make crossing the tracks a little bit easier and a lot safer for pedestrians at the Montreal West train station.
A tunnel that currently runs under part of the tracks linking two of the station’s three platforms is being extended to run the entire distance and link Broughton Road on the south side to Sherbrooke Street on the north side.
Officials are hoping the new tunnel will divert pedestrian traffic away from the two busy level crossings at the station.
“Oh, I’m very happy,” Beny Masella, the mayor of Montreal West, told Global News.
Masella is hoping the new tunnel will be a safety game-changer.
“When you come to the level crossing, there is no sidewalk there. It’s people, trains and cars all in one area. Same at both sides. This way alleviates that a bit,” he said.
The Montreal West train station is one of the busiest commuter stops in Montreal.
Three sets of tracks are used, carrying thousands of daily passengers on three different lines of the exo commuter network.
More than 100 trains a day pass through the station and converge with pedestrians and vehicles at the two level crossings on Westminster Avenue and Elmhurst Avenue.
Exo has hired two police officers at both level crossings to keep people safe.
The new tunnel is considered a first step toward improving public safety.
“It’s a step that we’re taking to improve the security around the Montreal West station and yes, we’re happy to start those works,” Catherine Maurice, an exo spokesperson, told Global News.
Ultimately, Masella would like a permanent train tunnel to be built underneath the two level crossings so that they can be closed but he says the costs are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Maurice says exo is aware of the interest to remove the level crossings and is considering all options.
“Everything is on the table and we’re still discussing with all of our partners what we can do to improve the security,” said.
The pedestrian tunnel extension and glass entrance on Sherbrooke street are expected to cost almost $30 million and it’s scheduled to be finished and open to the public by the end of 2023.